Online Journalism I

A must-read site for the Online Journalism 1 course at Rowan University

Weekly Schedule

Week 14

Blog Presentations

Worth 30 points

Each student will have about 5-10 minutes to present her/his work to the class. You should talk about the highlights of your work during the semester, the challenges, what you learned, and advice you would give to others students or journalists who undertake similar projects. Prepare what you want to say.

Talking points for blog presentations:
-What is your beat? Who was your primary audience?
-Give a quick overview of the types of stories you covered. (But don’t scroll through every post).
-Talk about one success. What are you most proud of?
-Talk about one thing that didn’t turn out so well. What went wrong?
-How much traffic did you get to your site? Anything unusual or unique in your traffic?
-Who was the most interesting person you interviewed this semester and why?
-What is the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
-What is one thing you learned about journalism in the process of covering your subject.

Also: Pitch your final project idea as part of your blog presentation. Answer the following questions:
1. What is your story idea?
2. How you will go about it? Research? Reporting? Events? Sources?
3. How will you present the story?

Your presentation will be graded on your preparation, your evaluation of your own work, and your participation in the class while others are giving their presentations. You must attend both presentation sessions to get full credit.

Order of Presentations

Tuesday, April 26
Robert Bulman
Michelle Campbell
Lucia Capella
Alyssa Compa
Alexandria DiRenzo
Janay Fitchett
David Green
Jenna Mackiewicz
Lauren Mathis

Thursday, April 28
Rachel Metcalf
Nazmul Noyim
Jasmine Pittman
Leon Purvis
Summer Sheekey
Anthony Short
Amanda Steinberg
Christopher Tygar

Week 13

405 points earned thus far (with two extra credit quizzes)

In-Class Video Exercise continued – Editing
-Catch up and workdays
Intro to web analytics
-Post 11: Video due by Sun., April 24, at 10 p.m.

Week 12

370 points earned thus far (with extra credit quiz)

-Go over Vice News (news blog of the week)

  • You are the target audience for Vice. Does this publication interest you? Why or why not? In particular, look at their video work. Here is a little background. Here is a little context.
  • Here is how Vice describes itself:
  • “VICE is a global youth media company and the industry leader in producing and distributing the best online video content in the world. Launched in 1994 as a punk magazine, VICE now operates out of 36 countries, and has expanded into a multimedia network, including the world’s premier source for original online video, VICE.COM; an international network of digital channels; a television & feature film production studio; a magazine; a record label; and a book-publishing division.”

Video Post and Final Project Overview
-Intro to web video journalism and tips for web video
Web vs. TV journalism
-Bring video cameras and headphones to class for in-class video exercise
-Read JournalismNext Chapter 7 – “Telling stories with video”
Extra-credit quiz #2 on readings (worth 10 points)

Post 10: Free Choice due Sun., April 17, at 10 p.m.

Week 11

295 points earned thus far

-Discuss an NPR blog of your choosing (news blog of the week)
Audio Recording and In-Class Audio Exercise
-Discuss JournalismNext Chapter 6 – “Making audio journalism visible”
-Extra Credit Quiz
Post 9 – Audio Interview with Photo, worth 60 points – Due by Sun, April 10, at 10 p.m.
Example for Blog Post #9

Week 10

-Extra Credit Quiz
-Discuss an NPR blog of your choosing (news blog of the week)
-Discuss JournalismNext Chapter 6 – “Making audio journalism visible”
Audio Recording and In-Class Audio Exercise
-Post 8: Profile of Another Blogger due by Sun., April 3, at 10 p.m.

Week 9

245 out of 1,000 points calculated thus far

Midterm Check-in – Go over syllabus and what’s coming up. Note no posts are due this Sunday; please arrange your profile of another blogger / Upcoming projects

Extra Credit Quiz #1, Thursday, March 24 (worth 15 points)

We have the date of our final exam: Thursday, May 5, 10:15 a.m.- 12:15 p.m.

  • You will have time to work on your final two posts: Post 12: Final Project due at end of Final Exam period -Post 13: Farewell Post due at end of Final Exam period

Feedback on Photo Galleries:

  • Need more variety of shots.
  • Headline could be more descriptive
  • Need people in your shots

Go over Vox (news blog of the week). What makes it work or not?

Discuss JournalismNext Chapter 4 – “Going Mobile”

Week 8

195 points out of 1,000 calculated thus far

–Continue: Tips for incorporating photos into your reporting
-Tips for improving your smartphone photography
Basic tips for better portraits
-Bring camera/phone and connection cord to class for in-class photo exercise
-JournalismNext Chapter 5 – Visual Storytelling with Photographs

  • Pixel – (p. 156) – mashed up word meaning PICTure Element; a tiny square on a matrix overlay on a computer image. A pixel is a visual representation of data in a digital image.
  • Why is this important? Resolution.
  • Resolution is a measurement of pixels that are available to the human eye (p. 157). Computer displays can be adjusted to show more or less information.
  • In photographs, resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. All computer monitors display 72 ppi (pixels per inch). This means for us that photographs on our websites need only have a resolution of 72 ppi.
  • This also means that we need to compress high-resolution photos (thus omitting unnecessary pixels for a smaller size) for our blogs.
  • Look at shooting tips (pp. 161-166)
  • Look at editing tips (p. 170)

Extra Credit Quizzes
-In-class photo editing and caption exercise

For the week after Spring Break:
-Read Vox (news blog of the week)
-Read JournalismNext Chap 4 – “Going Mobile”

Week 7

In Class
-Tags and other WordPress Woes
– Look at Renegade Mothering
Six Strategies for Running a Successful Blog
– Comment each other’s blogs
Basic overview of HTML/CSS
– Look at your code; have change headline size

Feedback on Q&A Assignment
Blog Post #7: Photo Gallery
Tips for incorporating photos into your reporting

For next week:
News blog of the week –’s Lens
Chapter 5 – “Visual storytelling with photographs”

Week 6

In Class
– Discuss Buzzfeed (news blog of the week). Make sure you check out the video of Pres. Obama. Here’s some background on the site. Buzzfeed set out to be the “first true social news organization – that is, an outfit built on the understanding that readers increasingly get and share their news on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.” Find one post you think is a good example of “combining traditional reporting and experimental methods of social distribution.” Come to class ready to talk about it.
– Feedback on posts so far
Post #5 – Q&A due 10 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28 (50 points)
Best Examples of Q&A posts
Interview Tips for Journalists

More feedback on blog posts thus far
More Tips on Interviewing from Dr. Carl Hausman
Terry Gross Interview with Keith Richards
Interview Exercise
Look ahead to Posts #7 and #8
-Discuss Renegade Mothering (blog of the week)

Week 5

In Class
-Briefly discuss TechnicallyPhilly (news blog of the week)

-Discuss readings: JournalismNext Chapter 3 – “Crowd-powered collaboration”
Common issues from Post 2 and 3
Writing leads
Intro to simple web analytics
Social media and journalism

-Post 4: Free Choice due Sunday, Feb. 21, at 10 p.m.

Reading for next week:
Buzzfeed (news blog of the week). Make sure you check out their recent video of Pres. Obama. Here’s some background on the site. Buzzfeed set out to be the “first true social news organization – that is, an outfit built on the understanding that readers increasingly get and share their news on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.” Find one post you think is a good example of “combining traditional reporting and experimental methods of social distribution.” Come to class next Tuesday ready to talk about it.
-JournalismNext Chap 9 – “Building a digital audience for news”
-JournalismNext Chapter 2 – “Blogging and microblogging: Publish, distribute and connect”

Looking ahead:
Post 5: Q & A with Photo will be due Sunday, Feb. 28, (50 points)

Posted in Detailed Assignments Descriptions

Writing leads

Posted on February 14, 2015 by markbg

After the headline, your lead – a simple, clear statement consisting of the first few sentences of your story – is the most important part of your article.

A lead must:

  • Pull the reader in.
  • Convey the basic information (who, what, where, when, why and how)
  • Include only the most important information
  • Tell the reader what is unusual or unique
  • Focus on people doing things
  • Tell reader why they should care
  • Be accurate

If your lead isn’t compelling, chances are your reader will go elsewhere.

There are many ways to craft a lead. Two of most common leads are 1.) the hard news (or inverted pyramid) lead and 2) the delayed (or anecdotal) lead.

A hard news lead answers the basic information: who, what, where, when and why in the first paragraph. It is usually short, often fewer than 25 words, unless you use two sentences.

A delayed lead often sets the stage with some concrete details, incorporates a good quote, or sets a scene before conveying the basic information.

Let’s look at some examples…

But there are also other ways to write a lead; for examples, see 10 Ways to Write a Great Lead.

In-class practice:

What: Bostonians are jumping out of window into giant snow banks and posting videos on social media. The mayor is concerned.

Where: Boston, Mass.

When: At press conference yesterday

Who: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Why: There are 8 foot snow drifts. People are going a little stir-crazy.

Quote: “This isn’t Loon Mountain, this is the city of Boston, where we’re trying to remove snow off of the street and it becomes very dangerous. And the last thing we want to do is respond to an emergency call where somebody jumped out of the window because they thought it was a funny thing to do,” Walsh said.

Social media and the news

Posted on February 14, 2015 by markbg

An overview:

How can journalists use social media? Using Twitter as example: 

You can ask the same question for other platforms…

How can you use social media to report, promote your work and connect with others who are passionate about your blog topic?

That’s for you to figure out.

What you do now is practice and experience for the future. 

For example, this Rowan graduate turned passion and experience in social media into a job.

Week 4

Posted on February 7, 2015 by markbg

In Class:

-Discuss Uwishunu (news blog of the week)
-Grading rubric or What I’m looking for in a blog post
Common types of blog posts
Tips for writing for the web
Linking like a journalist
Tags and Categories
Writing headlines for web and mobile

Due Sunday, Feb. 14, by 10 p.m.:
Post 2: Aggregation Post  (25 points)
Post 3: Free Choice (25 points)

-Read TechnicallyPhilly (news blog of the week)
-Read JournalismNext Chapter 3 – “Crowd-powered collaboration”

Looking ahead:
Post 5: Q & A with Photo will be due Sunday, Feb. 28 (50 points)

Week 3

– vs.
– Highlighting a few aspects of’s CMS. Setting up your OJ1 Bog with
– Common types of blog posts

-Read Uwishunu (news blog of the week)
Blog Set Up and Post 1 due Sunday, Feb. 7, at 10 p.m.

Week 2

In Class:
– More on unique aspects of online journalism and Blogging basics
– Peer blog pitch
– Ethics discussion: Permission, waivers, plagiarism, copyright, fair use and Creative Commons

– Read JournalismNext Chapter 1 – “We are all Web workers now,” but skip section on Web design
– Read JournalismNext Chapter 2 – “Blogging and microblogging: Publish, distribute and connect”
– Read the SPJ Code of Ethics and become familiar with codes of ethics for bloggers
– Read Why is this the most popular blog in the U.S.?


Week 1

In Class:
Course overview
– Syllabus
-What are we talking about when we talk about journalism? What makes online journalism unique?
-Thinking about your beat for the semester.

-Browse this list of previous student blogs from Online Journalism 1 and come to class ready to talk about one or two in particular.
-Look at the 2015 Online News Association Awards. Come to class ready to talk about one winner in particular.
-Get your books. Read JournalismNext – Forward and Intro
-Get your equipment together. What do you have? What do you need?
-Start thinking about your beat. Come with a few ideas next week.
-Add HuffingtonPost to your media diet for the week. We’ll discuss next week.